*this eatery has since closed
The Good Wolf is an eatery in the beachy Gold Coast suburb of Miami that has been steadily building a name for itself over the past few years. Open since late 2014, it was named best takeaway on the Gold Coast by the readers of the Gold Coast Bulletin in 2015, and maker of the third best burger on the Gold Coast in 2016, also by the same publication’s popular vote. Having made our way though a number of the other places on that burger list (Betty’s Burgers, Brooklyn Depot, Easy Street Diner, Ze Pickle) it was almost inevitable that we would make our way to The Good Wolf.
The shop is located in Miami’s local neighbourhood shopping village, along with other standard suburb staples you would expect like a post office and newsagent. As you head up the slope from the carpark, you can just about make out the signage, although the main visible word is “good”. A lighted board one one side of the entrance relates the origin of the name, an old Native American parable, that essentially reminds us that we have good and evil aspects to our nature, and that we have the power to decide what sort of person we are and become. There’s some food for thought while you’re eating..
The interior is simply decorated, with sandy-coloured tiled floors and brown walls creating an earthy feel. Wooden shelving and wood-framed blackboards on the inside continue the rustic, natural theme. Potted ferns hang above the service counter for some contrast in colour.
As we crossed the threshold and approached the counter, staff greeted us and asked if we had been there before. When we said that we had not, they explained how it worked to us, with the Good Wolf and Bad Wolf halves of the menu. In the Good Wolf section are dishes that you would definitely call healthy food, like the Crispy Tofu Bowl, and the Mediterranean Salad. In the Bad Wolf section are more indulgent burgers that definitely appeal more to carnivores. They also serve fish and chips, and there is a section of sides and extras that haven’t been classified as either good or bad (although they seem to lean towards temptingly bad).
Given their reputation for burgers, we picked the Famous Double Cheeseburger, and on recommendation, the Southern Fried Chicken Burger. We also ordered the Salt and Pepper Popcorn Chicken as a side.
After placing our food orders, we found ourselves seats. There are a few tables indoors, and a few more outdoors. As it wasn’t too warm an evening, and slightly breezier outside, we chose to sit outside. Patrons can help themselves to cold water from the refridgerator, and we did.
The first dish out was the Salt and Pepper Popcorn Chicken, which came with kimchi coleslaw and siracha aioli. The chicken was, as anticipated, in conveniently bite-sized pieces. The tender chicken morsels were coated with a fine, almost powdery crumb that was not at all oily. The siracha mayo drizzled over it gave the dish a contrasting creamy richness, with the sweet-salty-spicy cult favourite flavour of siracha sauce. The kimchi slaw hidden at the bottom of the dish packed another hot, pungent punch. Altogether, it was a tasty dish that would foreseeably be popular as a bar snack.
The burgers were brought out not long after, served in plastic baskets lined with greaseproof paper. This retro-Americana serving style is something that seems to have surfaced in recent years, with places like Easy Street Diner and Nantucket Kitchen and Bar Express adopting it to go with their nostalgic-for-a-better-time food theme. While it has a certain aesthetic from the era, whether it actually works for the meals being served on or in them is another issue, as regardless of how you arrange the paper on the basket, those holes in the basket are going to be a risk for runny sauces escaping, which is something plates are just that much better at preventing. One could almost say that they were designed to avoid just that eventuality..
The Southern Fried Chicken Burger was listed on the menu as coming with bacon, lettuce, tomato, chipotle aioli, cheese, and smokey BBQ sauce. There was indeed a generous piece of fried chicken in the burger, managing to poke out at both ends. The crumb on the chicken was coarser than that on the Popcorn chicken, and gave it a satisfying crunchiness. Again, the meat wasn’t overcooked or oily. It had more than just token lettuce and tomato, enough to give it some freshness (so not entirely Bad Wolf). The BBQ sauce on it was sweet and tangy, and a bit fruity. The cheese was melted on the chicken breast, and united it with the bacon and BBQ sauce. Soft, easily flattened buns held everything together..in the beginning. The result, as we ate it though, was a saucy, cheesy mess. It was delicious, but just be warned, you will be needing extra serviettes.
Craig’s Famous Double Cheeseburger had two 100g hand pressed beef patties, bacon, american cheese, onion, mustard relish, ketchup, and pickles. While fancier burgers with more exotic and indulgent ingredients appear on menus almost as a necessary drawcard these days, the cheeseburger (or here a double cheeseburger) is an easy test of how good a burger place really is, simply because there is less to hide behind. Do they use good meat, and can they season and cook it well, or are the gristly, overcooked patties being masked by strong sauces and a multitude of distracting ingredients in other burgers? In this case, the meat patties were juicy and just pink in the middle. The mince they were made from had just the right coarseness of grind to retain texture, and had the right meaty flavour. The bacon between the patties was also well-cooked, and there was a good amount of cheese melted over the patties. The pickles and relish provided contrasting tartness and crunch. These were classic ingredients in a classic combination done well.
As mentioned, the waitstaff (there was just one person running front of house) was friendly and made us feel welcome. It is easy to see why this place is a local favourite. With good food and good service, it is hard to go wrong.
Price point: Burgers $11.50 to $14.90. Sides $6.90 to $16.90 (for a large serve of buffalo wings). Good Wolf options $10.90 to $13.90.
Value: Not bad.
Address: 3/110 Mountain View Ave, Miami
Phone: 07 5607 0775
Website: The Good Wolf